If you ask anyone what’s made the last 12 months a stand-out year, they’re unlikely to scream, ‘Why, the incredible advances in technology!”. That said, whilst we’ll all have our ‘moments to remember’ when we think about 2021, there have indeed been a whole load of gigantic leaps and incredible bounds when it’s come to the world of mobile, mostly driven, yes, by the pandemic, and simply reaffirming that when the world gives you a big problem, technology usually has a big answer.
For most of us, the last year has seen us make profound changes to the way we go not only go about our working lives but how we go about our personal lives as well – with many of these having a permanent impact as the new became the norm.
Central to many of these changes has been – and continues to be – mobile technology, which took its place in the spotlight as the single most crucial driver for connecting, engaging and building relationships with the brands, the activities, and the people that we love. Reader, this shows no signs of slowing down. As we power through 2022, we continue to see innovation after innovation across the world of mobile – and it’s been no different here at KHQ. As we plan out the months ahead and make moves to shape Kumulos into an even more powerful piece of kit, we took a look back at our own journey over the last year to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come…
SDK offering to include Flutter
The fastest-growing app building platform bar none a free and open-source SDK, created by Google and providing its own widgets, Flutter was always going to be a popular framework. I’s popularity increases by the minute, with over 2 million developers worldwide using it right now, and absolutely zero sign of a slowdown. With this in mind, expanding our own SDK offering to include Flutter was a no-brainer; push notifications, in-app messaging, deferred deep links, and analytics courtesy of Kumulos are all compatible with Flutter. The only thing you have to do is have a brilliant app idea (sorry, we can’t help with that!) then head over and grab a Kumulos trial… Already started? Then take a deeper dive here.
With 85% of shoppers preferring apps over mobile websites and a 3x higher conversion rate for apps than for mobile sites, it makes sense to focus on web-to-app migration as part of any robust marketing strategy. It’s also why delivering web-to-app banner functionality to Kumulos users was a top priority for our team last year, meaning you can now:
- Create smooth, seamless onboarding flows to bring your mobile site users straight to your app
- Re-engage with lapsed app users with timely, relevant content
- Open new channels of communication including push notifications, the optimum way to engage your mobile audience
- And everyone’s favorite, save money on your app marketing budget
Deferred deep links feature updated to include sdk for Huawei
How do you nudge your audience from your site to your app, especially when they don’t have your app installed? Deep linking of course! It’s no secret around these parts that we’re huge champions of the humble deferred deep link and last year we updated our super-popular deep link feature to include an SKJ for Huawei.
We originally launched deferred deep links back in 2020 with an SDK for Android and iOS, and it rapidly rose to be the most sought-after feature by customers using the Kumulos platform. Deferred Deep Links for Huawei now allows apps to make use of the features previously only being utilized by apps on iOS and Google Android platforms, creating smooth, seamless onboarding flows to bring new users straight to your app, re-engage your audience across digital channels outside your app, and win back lapsed users who no longer have your app on their smartphone. A win-win for everyone!
Push notifications updates
Of all the changes brought in last year by Apple’s privacy-focused iOS 15 revisions, the ones that we felt the most as mobile marketers were those that impacted how we work with push notifications. With an emphasis on ‘being more present’, users were given the much-talked-about ‘Focus’ feature which allows users to control which apps can alert them with notifications. What’s more, they’re also now able to apply ‘relevance scores’ to the apps they use meaning they can adjust their settings to reflect how much value they’re getting from the notifications they’re receiving.
The good news is that these changes meant marketers had to start upping their game, looking more closely at personalization, and adding real, tangible value to app users. It also meant that we needed to look at a few clever ways to help the savvy marketing team to reach their customers in the first place … enter the three big push enhancements we worked on last year:
- the creation of additional prompt types – ‘Alert’, ‘Banner’ or ‘Bell’ – to maximize opt-ins;
- the ability for users to choose which notification topics they want to opt-in to
- and the implementation of a ‘channels’ feature with which mobile marketing teams can define which content users can sign up to receive notifications for across different content sections of your website. For example users can opt-in through your blog page to only receive updates from a ‘blog’ channel, or those who are viewing pages related to sport can subscribe to a ‘sports’ channel push notifications.
By experimenting across your users and your content, you’ve got the insights to optimize opt-ins and enjoy better engagement rates using highly targeted content for each individual user – a win-win for everyone,
With the landscape for mobile marketing pretty much revolutionized over the last two years and remote working now the norm, we wanted to make it easier for remote mobile marketing teams to work as efficiently and effectively as they ever did. The result? Workflow Approval is a way for teams to create a hierarchy and increase transparency, and ensure that deadlines are never missed. This new platform functionality allows team members to draft push notifications and in-app messages for approval, and to allocate permissions to specific users (think Editor’ or ‘Approver’). Everyone in your team knows their role in the process, so nothing slips through the cracks – and you always deliver these brilliant campaigns of yours on time.
Richer, deeper integration opportunities for OEM partners
There’s never been a bigger focus on delivering a rich, value-driven omnichannel experience to consumers. It can help brands to stand out, and stay both competitive and relevant … no mean feat in today’s ultra-crowded marketplace. It’s critical that we’re able to provide our OEM partners with the kit that helps them deliver on that all-important seamless omnichannel experience. Staying one step ahead, we took a deeper dive into providing the functionality that would help them engage with their customers wherever they found them. The result?
- Messaging webhooks. Kumulos can now send a webhook when a push notification or in-app message is created, starts sending, and when sending is complete, without the need for integration. The result? Marketers are free to create their content and campaigns in the Kumulos console.
- In-app messaging. Once our partners have integrated an SDK, and one or more users has opted in to receive in-app messages, they can now send these messages direct from their console. What’s more, partner clients can also send in-app messages directly from their own client portal.
Preferred and intelligent delivery
Time and again research tells us that the majority of push notifications are still being shipped at the wrong time. The result? Poor engagement, irate users, and if it’s a regular thing, a dent in your years-in-the-making great reputation.
Choosing that perfect moment when users will engage with your messages using time-targeting allows your team to drive far, far better levels of engagement than simply shipping your push campaign any old time. Intelligent Delivery is a feature we gave a lot of time and love to last year so that teams can now send the perfect message at exactly the optimum moment for engagement, driving better open, engagement and conversion rates. ‘Preferred Delivery’ on the other hand, gives your app users the opportunity to tell you when they want to receive notifications, so they’ll always hear from you on their terms:
- Automated intelligent messaging that always hits the sweet spot
- Ensures campaigns work for each individual user
- Improves engagement and conversions by eliminating the guesswork
It’s the kind of stuff long-term loyalty is built on, and it’s still one of our most features to date.
The culmination of a fruitful collaboration between international cross-functional teams from both HCL and Kumulos, last year our platform capabilities were integrated into Unica Deliver, HCL’s world-class Omni Channel Marketing Automation Platform.
The Unica Deliver platform lets users build precision marketing campaigns at scale. Powerful yet easy to use, it lets you plan, execute and measure the results of complex multi-step, omnichannel marketing campaigns, and with the addition of Kumulos, it can now offer rich media mobile app push notifications to their portfolio of email, chat, and SMS channels – they’ve even extended the functionality of their platform to include In-App messaging. The upshot? Unica customers can now seamlessly manage their mobile messaging needs across their digital campaigns effortlessly and easily across all of their mobile apps and via a single pane of glass. One of the world’s leading software companies with over 20,000 customers and 160,000 staff spread across operations in 50 countries, HCL works with some of the world’s most famous brands, so we know we’re good company …
Add to all that configurable security policies, optional data encryption at rest, and support for Android 12, iOS 15, and P8 authentication for APNS and it’s fair to say there were a few late nights and lots of takeaway pizzas being consumed throughout most of 2021!
It goes without saying we’re not resting on our laurels (although the awards we achieved in 2021 were definitely an added bonus!). The mobile apps market continues to evolve and innovate at a blazingly fast pace, and to match it we’ve got big plans for 2022. The big-hitter? in-browser messaging functionality, an oft-requested platform feature that will help you to reach your audience when they’re active on your website – mobile or desktop – with rich, relevant messages that don’t require opt-in. Why so popular? Because these in-browser messages can be sent in a whole raft of formats which make them perfect for engaging and retaining your intended recipients with personalized messaging – and optimizing monetization opportunities across your omnichannel – watch this space for updates, including even more exciting functionality coming for our integration partners. No rest for the (slightly) wicked!
Want to find out more about the Kumulos platform, and all the other great stuff it can do to help you deliver on your mobile marketing goals? Then you know what to do!